Thursday 4 July 2013

Happy Independence Day

A happy July 4th to all American readers. May your great nation continue to be blessed and may it remain true to the original Constitution to provide freedom of speech, liberty, and its commitment to one nation under God. May it also continue to be a beacon for the Christian faith in a world so anxious to marginalise the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

May the harassment which is being given to people in Britain who are exercising their (perceived) right of speech and religious freedom not be such the case in your country.

Such indeed was the irresponsible treatment meted out to an American evangelist visiting here. Tony Miano, a much decorated veteran of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was preaching in a district of London about spiritual growth, holiness and the person and work of Jesus. In one session he spoke about sexual immorality both heterosexual and homosexual and sin, without discrimination. An obviously bigoted woman heard him and called the police to complain when she heard him say homosexuality was a sin.

Tony was arrested and led to the Police Station in handcuffs accused of using homophobic speech contrary to the Public Order Act. There he was photographed, finger printed, had DNA sample taken, questioned about his faith in Jesus Christ, interviewed by a detective and asked the incredible question would you feed a homosexual man requesting food when he was hungry.

He was told he would not be released for 24 hours, the maximum for that offence, and would appear before a Magistrate the next day to answer the charge and any trial necessary would mean he could not leave the country for between 4 or 5 months. The circumstances would be reported to the Crown Prosecution Service as to future action.

He was led to a cell (with cctv)but not allowed to take his Bible into the cell because it had some metal fittings, but a solicitor from the Christian Defence Society (like the American Center for Law & Justice) was advising him and supplied a Bible and prayed with him. He sang hymns as he settled down for the long hours wait until the next morning, but after seven hours he was told an Inspector had considered the evidence and he would not be charged on that occasion.

We don’t know whether the Inspector was a man with common sense realising the absurdity of the action taken, or if he feared the consequences of adverse publicity if he proceeded and wanted to limit the damage caused.

This is similar to a case which infuriated me a few years ago. A Council set up a stall in a library full of homosexual advice literature. An elderly man and his wife, both devoted Christians, placed some Christian literature alongside pointing out it was contrary to Scripture. Shortly after they were visited by two policemen who coerced their way into these two innocent minded elderly people’s home, and to their distress the policemen lectured them for 80 minutes. If I were to be put in such a situation I would have refused entry into my house and advised them to go to a place which would not be called heaven.

This American Christian’s experience was not an isolated one, numerous street preachers have been arrested for daring to quote the Bible.

Tony Miano made the comment on his video, (well worth seeing) that Britain has lost its soul and the Church is doing nothing about it. I have reluctantly to agree with him and in some small way apologise for the action of a Police Service which some time ago lost not only its soul, but a great deal of practical professionalism and reputation.

There was an age when the Police in this country were essentially used to arrest criminals, people committing real crime, rather than seeking to appease people with limited sensitivity. But then again, one has to remember words used which offend a person’s sexual views are considered to be of great seriousness. The police will attend quickly when so summoned, but when burglary is committed, or women subjected to domestic abuse, police have been known not to be interested. Priorities are important in modern Britain.

All this before we even have the Same Sex Marriage Act passed into law.

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